Ocean acidification (OA) is predicted to alter benthic marine community structure and function, however, there is a paucity of field experiments in benthic soft sediment communities and ecosystems. Benthic diatoms are important components of Antarctic coastal ecosystems, however very little is known of how they will respond to ocean acidification. Ocean acidification conditions were maintained by incremental computer controlled addition of high fCO2 seawater representing OA conditions predicted for the year 2100. Respiration chambers and PAM fluorescence techniques were used to investigate acute behavioural, photosynthetic and net production responses of benthic microalgae communities to OA in in-situ field experiments. We demonstrate how OA can modify behavioural ecology, which changes photo-physiology and net production of benthic microalgae. Ocean acidification treatments significantly altered behavioural ecology, which in turn altered photo-physiology. The ecological trends presented here have the potential to manifest into significant ecological change over longer time periods.
Black J. G., Stark J. S., Johnstone G. J., McMinn A., Boyd P., McKinlay J., Wootherspoon S. & Runcie J. W., 2019. In-situ behavioural and physiological responses of Antarctic microphytobenthos to ocean acidification. Scientific Reports 9: 1890. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36233-2. Article.